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Price's Candle Factory

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 166
Date: 1876/1877
Medium: drypoint
Size: 153 x 229 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right (6-8); replaced with new butterfly (9-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 13
Known impressions: 19
Catalogues: K.154; M.151; W.124
Impressions taken from this plate  (19)


barge, bridge, factory, river, sailing boat, sailors, warehouse, wharf.


There are minor variations in title and punctuation, as follows:

'Price's Candle-Factory' (1870s?, Whistler). 3
'Prices ...' or 'Price's Candle-Factory' (1877, Whistler). 4
'Price's Candle-Works' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5
'Prices Candle Factory' (1887/1888, Whistler). 6
'Price's Candle Factory' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)) . 7
'Price's Candle-Works' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 8

Mansfield based his title on Whistler's title and his version, 'Price's Candle Factory' is preferred.

3: Written on an impression, according to Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 151).

4: Whistler to C. A. Howell, 16 October 1877, GUW #12735.

5: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 124).

6: Whistler, [August 1887/1888], GUW #13233.

7: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 151).

8: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 154).


A view across the River Thames in London, showing the Battersea shore, with the chimneys and warehouses of Price's Candle Works on the left, and a barge loaded with barrels by the wharf. Further right are more wharves, warehouses, houses and some trees. At far right are two arches of a bridge, with a church spire visible beyond. On the river is a barge with goods covered with a tarpaulin, and behind this, to right, a sailing barge.


Price's Candle Factory, Belmont Works, York Road, Battersea, on the River Thames in London, seen from the Chelsea shore. The arched roofs of the mills were a distinctive feature. 9

9: Engraving ca 1880, Wandsworth Heritage Service, Photostream 1.957, on (accessed 2011).

William Wilson and his partner Benjamin Lancaster established Edward Price & Company to manufacture candles in 1830. Price's discovered inexpensive raw materials (such as coconut oil and palm oil) to replace tallow and beeswax. They were the first to explore industrial applications for the new chemistry of fats to produce better products. Wilson took out a license on an 1829 patent for the hydraulic separation of coconut fats, and the partners built a candle factory at Vauxhall on the Thames in South West London, and a crushing mill just up river at Battersea. The firm became Price's Patent Candle Company in 1847. 10

10: Price's Candles Website: 'A HISTORY OF PRICE'S PATENT CANDLE COMPANY' at (accessed 2009).